Wright‘s Beach

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Beach Wheelchair

Amenities

  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Partially Accessible Parking
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Beach Wheelchair

Information

Website:
parks.ca.gov
Region:
North Coast
Phone:
Info: (707) 875-3483
Hours:
8 am to sunset
Dogs:
On leash
This is one of the few sites in the Sonoma Coast State Park where dogs are allowed on the beach; consequently, you will see a lot of them.
Last Reviewed:
November 2023
Have something to add?
Suggest an edit
This broad, sandy beach backed by low bluffs isn’t as dramatic as the coastline farther north, but it is pretty. A campground with three accessible sites is nestled against the bluffs, partially sheltered by trees and shrubs. Dogs are allowed on the beach here (on leash), and on my visit I saw many happy hounds romping with their owners. A beach wheelchair is available and the beach has two level entries, one at the northern end of the day use parking lot, the other near the middle. Getting to the water’s edge may be a chore, however; you have to travel some distance across the sand and up and down some gentle terraces.

The Kortum Trail meanders through coastal prairie along the bluff for more than 3.5 miles above Wright’s Beach to Blind Beach, but only two short stretches, near Wright’s Beach (.5 mile) and near Shell Beach, are accessible. This hike is particularly lovely in spring, when a variety of wildflowers are in bloom. Broad ocean vistas are plentiful. On my visit in July I saw several egrets stalking the bluffs, probably hunting gopher snakes.

Trails and Pathways

Trail:
Kortum Trail–Wright‘s Beach Segment
Time to Complete:
30 minutes
Trailhead Location:
From Highway One, exit at Wright‘s Beach and take the first right turn into the parking area for the trailhead
Trail Length:
Under one mile total
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Gentle
Typical Terrain:
Moderately Firm
Trail Overview:

From the trailhead parking area, the level, hard-packed dirt and gravel trail heads north along the bluff. A few old trees screen you from the ocean at first, but then the vista opens up to a broad expanse of ocean dotted with offshore rocks. The meadow on the right is studded with thick clumps of coyote brush.. Golden-brown hills rise beyond the highway, their tops disappearing into the fog. This section of trail is as wide as a single-lane road. As you stroll along the bluff, more of the rocky coastline to the north opens up, jagged and dramatic. On my visit in summer, a profusion of blooming plants—tall cow parsnip, yellow-blossoming lizard tail, wild mustard and radish—added color to the brown grasses, and I could hear both California quail and seabirds piping in the breeze. After .3-mile, the gravel road ends and from here out is compacted and is very bumpy because of the tufts of grass interspersed with gravel; if you can navigate a 6-inch threshold, you shortly come to a boardwalk that is 40 inches wide and fairly level, though the surface is uneven in places. Traveling inland and gently uphill toward the highway, the boardwalk passes through weedy grasslands where swallows swoop and skim, then curves north toward a grove of old eucalyptus trees. Ferns and horsetail are evidence of the creek whose deep channel you soon see cutting a path toward the sea. Soon the boardwalk ends in a short ramp and the trail reverts to bumpy, clumpy hard-packed dirt and grass. If you manage to forge ahead a little farther, you shortly come to a wood bridge over the creek. Past the bridge, the dirt-and-grass trail narrows but may be passable in a wheelchair when the grass is mowed; on my visit, the unfavorable trail conditions discouraged me from exploring beyond this point. (Trail becomes difficult for wheelchair after a very short distance)

Accessibility Notes: Trail gets quite bumpy when the road ends. The dirt-and-grass trail, somewhat overgrown and clumpy on my visit, is likely impassable when wet.
Trail:
Kortum Trail–Shell Beach segment
Trailhead Location:
North side of Shell Beach parking lot
Trail Length:
Less than .5 mile
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Gentle
Typical Terrain:
Moderately Firm
Trail Overview:

From the Shell Beach parking lot, this wide, level trail heads north across a broad coastal terrace, with views of the ocean and offshore rocks to the left and the top of Goat Rock peeping above the grasslands directly ahead. I scared up a number of rabbits right near the trailhead on my visit in July. Paintbrush and lizard tail splashed red and yellow blossoms across the brown fields. You soon come to a junction where one trail heads left toward the edge of the bluff, while the other curves right toward a boardwalk. Grass clumps narrow the left-hand trail, but it was still navigable and provided some stunning views of the rocky cove that shelters Shell Beach. The trail peters out as you approach the bluff’s edge, but not before providing another lovely view, of the rocks to the north. Back at the junction, the trail to the right is very grassy and bumpy, but navigable for the short distance it takes to reach the boardwalk, which is level and 40 inches wide. The boardwalk travels across a marshy meadow; at its end, the trail is once again hard-packed dirt overlain by low clumps of grass. If you’re willing to slog through a few hundred feet of this, you can reach another boardwalk over a riparian area, but the vegetation overgrowing the end of this boardwalk made further travel impossible in a wheelchair.

Accessibility Notes: Clumpy grass makes the trail surface bumpy, and it is likely to be impassable when wet.

Amenities

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking:
Limited designated accessible parking, moderately firm; There is no designated accessible parking in the Wright's Beach lot, but this lot is level, hard-packed dirt and gravel; drifting sand may be a problem in some places, and portions of the lot may be inaccessible after a rain. There is one designated van-accessible spot at the Wright’s Beach trailhead for the Kortum Trail, and the Shell Beach parking lot has several.

Accessible Restroom:
Yes – At Wrights Beach campground and at Shell Beach parking lot (no sink or 5 x 5 turnaround space).

Beach Wheelchair:
Yes – First-come, first-served; ask at the camp host site.

Camping:
Yes

Accessible Picnic Table:
Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance

User Registration

    Please consider that some funders request this information and it will also help us when applying for grants. This information will not appear anywhere and is confidential.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Welcome back, let’s review
the places you have been to lately.

THE ICONS


Fully Accessible

Partially Accessible

You must be logged in to suggest an edit.

M

ADD A REVIEW

You must be registered and logged in to submit a review.

Log in or Sign up